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How Maya High School uses Hāpara to help learners be productive and successful

10 ways educators can implement Google Docs for learners in their classrooms

Maya High School in Phoenix, Arizona, has a team of passionate educators who are helping learners, who have previously struggled, find success in high school. This public charter school, spanning grades 9-12, provides an alternative learning environment for teens who need more flexibility and support. One of the ways Maya High School educators support learners is with the Hāpara Instructional Suite. Hāpara tools help their learners be productive, prioritize and gain the skills they need as adults for life after high school.

Promoting success for all learners

The Maya High School website states, “At Maya High School, we believe all students can perform at high levels given high expectations and support from parents, teachers, school administration and the community.”

Established in 1997, Maya High School accommodates their learners’ individual needs with block scheduling, evening classes and a four-day school week. The learning environment offers more flexibility for students who have difficulty in a traditional setting. For example, some students traveled between Arizona and another country and weren’t able to attend classes for long periods of time. Because of this, they were not able to complete courses in a traditional school setting and may have learning gaps.

History educator Clint Novak says that Maya “specializes in students who need second chances or need a different version of education than what they get in a more traditional school.”

Creating a flexible learning environment and building relationships

For about 40% of learners, English is their second language. There are also learners who have special needs or are experiencing homelessness while enrolled in school. 

The Maya High School staff want to see their learners complete their courses and earn their credits but also find success beyond high school. Clint explains, “A lot of the teachers here, that’s our passion. We want to get those kids to do different things and make them successful.”

The flexible setting that Maya High School offers allows learners to earn credits quickly while still being held to high standards.

Esports at Maya High School

Science educator Jim Tobin explains, “We’re an accelerated format. What regular public schools would take care of in a semester, we take care of in ten weeks.” They also have two-hour classes and are able to cover a lot of material in that time.

Jim also notes that many older students at Maya High School work to help their families pay bills. Some students work from 11 p.m. – 7 a.m. and then attend school during the day.

Because learners come to school with unique situations, Jim emphasizes that it’s important for him to prioritize building a relationship with his students in the beginning of the school year or semester. A question he asks in a survey is about their work schedule. “If you come in and you fall asleep, I want to know that there’s a reason behind it. And I want to figure out what I can do to help you.”

Teaching learners how to be productive

One of the ways educators at Maya High School support learners’ individual needs is with Hāpara tools. Hāpara Student Dashboard and Hāpara Workspace help learners manage their learning activities and stay on top of assignments.  

With Hāpara Workspace, Maya educators create a unit or a weekly lesson and add all of the learning goals, resources, assessments and rubrics in one online spot for learners. 

With Hāpara, Maya High School students can also improve their executive functioning skills because all of their learning materials are organized in one spot. When they log in to Student Dashboard, they see all of their upcoming assignments and can filter them by class. 

Directly from Student Dashboard, learners can click on a Workspace lesson or unit and get started. They can also see their Google Drive files, school emails and notifications about returned or graded assignments. Learners are able to practice how to meet due dates, manage multiple assignments, get organized and stay on top of communications.

“It basically teaches them how to be productive,” says Jim. “This is how you prioritize. Here is your assignments list. You have a due date for these. This due date has passed.”

Clint agrees that Hāpara is what their learners need because it lays out clear steps for them. Learners can also see directly in a Workspace which assignments they have submitted and which they still need to complete.

Jim also explains, “We have those conversations about when you leave here, whether you go to college or you get a job, nobody’s going to be holding your hand . . . This is how we become productive members of society.”

Soccer at Maya High School

Investing in tools that help their student population

Clint first saw Hāpara when he was touring another school. “I’m in this classroom, and I’m watching this teacher. Oh, my goodness! You can keep track of everything. I went back and said we need to invest in this. We need to get this because this is going to change things. And my boss agreed.”

Clint says that the mobility of Hāpara is important for their learners and the transient population at their school because they can open it up at home on any device and complete their assignments. If learners miss a day due to a family situation or a personal issue, they know where to go and what they need to do for class. They can visit Student Dashboard, click on their Workspace and see all learning content clearly laid out.

Not only do the students use Student Dashboard and Workspace, but Jim also uses Hāpara Highlights. This Chrome browser monitoring tool allows him to view learners’ screens, which for Jim, is especially helpful during online assessments to ensure that learners are focused. 

Jim also uses the “Share links” feature in Highlights to give learners structured support while navigating the internet. “There’s times that we’re working on an article from the National Institutes of Health, and I’ll push the article out to them so that they don’t have to worry about finding a link or typing something in.”

He continues, “This way it just goes out quickly. Everybody gets it. It opens up, and we’re all on the same page within seconds.” 

Before Hāpara, Clint explains, they would have to share a Google file assignment with each learner by typing individual email addresses. Then each learner would have to make their own copy. “There were all these extra steps.” 

Now they can use Hāpara Teacher Dashboard to share Google files instantly with the class, a group or a single learner. Learners don’t have to make their own copies, and the files get added to their Google Drive automatically. 

Differentiating instruction by reading level

Because English is not the first language for about 40% of Maya High School learners, their average reading level for English may be at the fourth or fifth-grade level. In this case, they need learning content tailored to their needs. 

Clint explains that he creates color-coded groups in Workspace, and gives learners the resources they need by group. For instance, he may include extra steps for one group or specific links for another group to visit online. He can also create groups by grade level and share differentiated content that way. 

Jim creates “jigsaw groups” so that each group collaborates on their own Workspace document rather than the class working in one document simultaneously. He also shares reading material with differentiated groups in Workspace so that learners are able to comprehend content at their own reading level in science. 

Workspace helps learners who are absent, too, or find it challenging to take detailed notes. Clint adds everything they need for a unit into one Workspace. His learners can click on a slideshow in the Workspace and see all of the class notes. This is helpful when Clint is doing direct instruction because his learners can focus on what he’s explaining rather than needing to write everything down. They always know where to go to revisit resources.

Lady Jaguar’s Volleyball at Maya High School

Giving learners a more streamlined, intuitive experience

Jim prefers Hāpara to other programs he’s used in the past, such as Schoology and Google Classroom. “Schoology wasn’t intuitive. Google Classroom was better, but Google Classroom is limited.” 

For Clint, Hāpara has more benefits for learners who use Google Workspace for Education because Hāpara is more organized and holds learners accountable. Without Hāpara, learners would have to visit their Google Drive and Gmail separately, which can be challenging for those who struggle to juggle different apps. Google Drive can especially be overwhelming, and it can be difficult for learners to keep track of all of their files. With Student Dashboard and Workspace, though, everything they need for learning is in one spot, helping students be productive and successful.

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